What are the cheapest sticks you're willing to play (and pay)?

Targalx

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I've been using the Guitar Center brand (Sound Percussion?) for about 15 years now. I was a Vic Firth diehard for the previous 15, but the pricing kept creeping up, well beyond my affordability range. I found the generic GC sticks to work just as well, and break/splinter with the same frequency (I play lots of rim shots), for almost half the price, and I've not bought any brand name sticks since.

Now, GC has even cheaper, unlabeled/unbranded sticks for sale. I was thinking about stepping down to those, just to see what life's like on the other side. What about you? Are you a brand name adherent? Or are you willing to play whatever's the cheapest new stick around?
 

dirtysicks

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The cheapest I’ll use or have used is factory seconds by Vic Firth, Vater and even from Promark that I got in bags from GC on $10 a bag sakes. Some were warped but most felt abs played just like normal. I now have a huge stockpile of sticks from using my GC discount years ago when I worked there with regular and sig models from VF, Promark and Vater but I still am using up all of the factory seconds first.
 
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lrod1707

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If a cheap stick works for you, that's great. It's just a piece of wood and that piece of wood whether expensive or cheap can work for whoever likes it. I usually go for the same brand and models: Los Cabos or Promark and when I buy them I do a thorough internet search to make sure I'm paying the lowest possible price. I don't think I would pay more than $9 for a pair of sticks (and I haven't!) A few weeks ago, Musicians friend sent me an email that they had some new Promarks that are called Rebound and forward on sale for $1.99 each pair. I jumped on it and bought a few pairs including free shipping. They are perfect and you can't beat $12 for six pairs of Promarks!
 

pwc1141

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I am a very light hitter and sticks last quite some time for me, so I stay with what gets the sweetest ride cymbal tone for my jazz gigs and that's the ProMark Micheal Carvin model - which here cost the equivalent of about US$11 a pair at current exchange rates. We can pay almost as much for low end sticks here so not much gained by buying cheap and much is lost on my cymbal sounds.
 
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XVIII Airborne

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I use first quality Regal Tips for gigs and practice pad work, but I use second quality sticks for drumset practice and rehearsals. I’ve used Nova, L.A. Specials, Road Series, Sound Percussion and store brands, as long as they are in the 5B range, any brand I can get for the least cost.
 

Old Drummer

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I nearly never buy name brand sticks and don't understand their appeal. Every time I pick up a pair of name brand sticks, I can't tell any difference between them and the generics. I have ended up with a few name brand sticks in my arsenal (probably because they're the only ones the store had when I wanted a pair) but use them interchangeably with my generics and don't notice any difference.

Oh, it is true that you can get burned buying generics. I've bought a few pairs over the years that seemed fine in the store only to disappoint after a bit of playing. I therefore usually only buy one or two pairs of generics at a time. However, most generics are fine.

My last stick purchase was a couple pairs of generics at less than $3.50 a pair (including sales tax). The store clerk told me that they are identical to Promarks, but I didn't pay much attention to his opinion. The sticks looked and felt fine, so I sprang for a couple pairs. Now I think the clerk was right, since I wouldn't be able to distinguish these sticks from name brand sticks.

On my list of things to do is to return to that store, ask if they have the same generic sticks, and if so buy a couple more pairs. I don't run through sticks fast at all, but at the moment I only have six decent sticks. At $3.50 a pair, I could increase my stash to a dozen.
 

K.O.

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When GC has their semi-annual sale with ten no-name pairs of a particular size in a bag (various sizes in different bags, no markings whatsoever so you guess the size) for ten bucks (more like $15 these days) I usually snag some. They work great and are reputed to be factory seconds from (insert famous stick brand here, different depending on which clerk you're talking to) _________ . I don't know about that but generally if they have a size I like they are all I need. They are pieces of wood (and sometimes nylon) that I hit stuff with. I try not to overthink it. At this point I have more sticks than I'll ever use in my lifetime but they look nice in my vintage Gretsch stick store display. Still I snagged a bag of 5Aish nylon tips just last week.

For me the question might be "What is the most you'd pay for a pair of sticks?" Not more than $5.

Even when I had custom sticks made by Jeff with my band logo and my signature stamped on them I think I paid less than $5 a pair (buying 10 pair) and they were great sticks...ah, the good old days.
 
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Tama CW

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Haven't bought new sticks since the early 1990's. And most of the new sticks I bought in the 80's and 90's are still around. Recently, I've splurged at $2/pr for used pairs at drum shops as a courtesy purchase. I would not buy new. I have dozens of pairs of used sticks and keep finding more and more for free when buying drums and/or cymbals. Why buy new? I give away quite a few for free to people that need them.
 

lrod1707

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I use first quality Regal Tips for gigs and practice pad work, but I use second quality sticks for drumset practice and rehearsals. I’ve used Nova, L.A. Specials, Road Series, Sound Percussion and store brands, as long as they are in the 5B range, any brand I can get for the least cost.
Have you tried the Los Cabos red hickory 5B? I use 5B 95% of the time and I decided a few months back to try them out. I bought them because of all the good things I heard. They are strange because they feel a tad thinner and lighter than the Promark 5B which is normally what I buy. They feel like they are in between a 5A and 5B. I've been playing them more and more and really love the feel and balance and the finish is fantastic. I use the Promarks when I need that power heavyweight and the Los Cabos when I start tiring and feel the tendonitis trying to kick in.
 

lrod1707

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I nearly never buy name brand sticks and don't understand their appeal. Every time I pick up a pair of name brand sticks, I can't tell any difference between them and the generics. I have ended up with a few name brand sticks in my arsenal (probably because they're the only ones the store had when I wanted a pair) but use them interchangeably with my generics and don't notice any difference.

Oh, it is true that you can get burned buying generics. I've bought a few pairs over the years that seemed fine in the store only to disappoint after a bit of playing. I therefore usually only buy one or two pairs of generics at a time. However, most generics are fine.

My last stick purchase was a couple pairs of generics at less than $3.50 a pair (including sales tax). The store clerk told me that they are identical to Promarks, but I didn't pay much attention to his opinion. The sticks looked and felt fine, so I sprang for a couple pairs. Now I think the clerk was right, since I wouldn't be able to distinguish these sticks from name brand sticks.

On my list of things to do is to return to that store, ask if they have the same generic sticks, and if so buy a couple more pairs. I don't run through sticks fast at all, but at the moment I only have six decent sticks. At $3.50 a pair, I could increase my stash to a dozen.
Whatever works! And honestly you can get burned with name brands as well but I'm sure it's not common. It's happened to me! I'm assuming that the name brands should use better wood and have a more thorough QC. For example, the Los Cabos sticks I've bought recently have the best quality I have ever seen. That red hickory is something else! Those guys must check each stick with a microscope!
 

lrod1707

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Haven't bought new sticks since the early 1990's. And most of the new sticks I bought in the 80's and 90's are still around. Recently, I've splurged at $2/pr for used pairs at drum shops as a courtesy purchase. I would not buy new. I have dozens of pairs of used sticks and keep finding more and more for free when buying drums and/or cymbals. Why buy new? I give away quite a few for free to people that need them.
Wow! That's amazing! I buy a pair and after a couple months of playing I can actually feel like the stick is starting to give internally. At that point I trash them before they crack and become dangerous.
 

lrod1707

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I cant play with cheap sticks. Regal Tip all the way.
I tried the Regal Tips recently after not trying them out for years. I loved the smooth balanced feel but the 5B seemed much heavier than the Promark 5B's. They felt like bats and my hands couldn't keep them up. I then tried the 5A but they were to light. I'd love to give them a shot again but need a size in between those two.
 

On the one

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I have different brands of sticks but mainly 747B Promarks. I have 2 pairs of Sound Percussion 7a's for $4 a pair. The drum rep said that Vater makes the Sound Percussion sticks I believe. Don't know if it's true because they will try to sell you beachfront property in Arizona in they can. My only complaint is they're a little short maybe 16" or 15 7/8". My Regal Tips are 16 1/4" or 3/8".
 

ARGuy

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About a month ago I was in the market for some nylon tipped sticks, and I was close to a Music Go Round store. I ended up getting a couple of pair of their house brand 5A's, and they were really nice. $5.99 a pair.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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I learned (the hard way) many years ago to avoid budget sticks and just go ahead & buy top quality sticks from the most reputable brands, afterall, drumsticks are our connection to the instrument so weight, length, diameter, balance & straightness are critical to playing ease, comfort, confidence and satisfaction. I still feel that way about sticks and continue to buy the best quality sticks I can reasonably afford, often in bulk (12 pr. bricks) Vater, Vic Firth, Pro-Mark, Zildjian, ect...



Now here's an anomoly - about 10 yrs. ago I added a brick of cheap "Pulse" hickory woodtips (MF house brand) into my cart on a whim because it was on sale for some ridiculous sale price like 9.99 - those dozen pairs came shrink-wrapped in cellophane so upon arrival I tossed the brick on a closet shelf where they sat for about a decade.

Last winter I decided to pull out a pair for the home kit and threw another pair in my gig bag for spares. They're 7A ball-tips.

I'm sure you can see where this is going....

They're easily among the finest drumsticks I've ever used. Period.

Comfort, balance, tonality, all there and perfect - but the sheer Durability is what truly astonished me.
That pair I tossed in my gig bag is the ONLY pair of drumsticks I've played in 2019 and I gig regularly & hit with authority.
I'm confident they could last until my NYE gig this year! Zero chipping of the tips, almost no rimshot shredding or cymbal slice marks whatsoever. Wow.

I hope the remaining 10 pairs last as long. Unbelievable.
 

kb

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It seems a lot of guys are not too picky about their sticks.

Me, I need all the help I can get. I want 'em straight, and well matched both pitch and weight wise.

I've got nothing against cheap sticks, but haven't found any I like.
 

pwc1141

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For me, sticks need not have the feel, weight, balance, length so much as have unvarnished small ball tips which sweeten my ride cymbal sounds. When you play 3 sets in jazz on your rides cymbals, the wrong sound can make for a very long night.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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For me, sticks need not have the feel, weight, balance, length so much as have unvarnished small ball tips which sweeten my ride cymbal sounds. When you play 3 sets in jazz on your rides cymbals, the wrong sound can make for a very long night.
Try the Vater Super Maple Phat Ride! You'll love em!
 

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